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St. Joseph North Pier Inner and Outer Lights facts for kids

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St. Joseph North Pier Inner Light
St. Joseph North Pier Outer Light
Lighthouse Benton Harbor.jpg
Pictured in 2008
St. Joseph North Pier Inner LightSt. Joseph North Pier Outer Light is located in Michigan
St. Joseph North Pier Inner LightSt. Joseph North Pier Outer Light
St. Joseph North Pier Inner Light
St. Joseph North Pier Outer Light
Location in Michigan
Location St. Joseph / Benton Harbor, Michigan
Coordinates 42°06′58″N 86°29′36″W / 42.11611°N 86.49333°W / 42.11611; -86.49333
Year first lit Outer: 1906; Inner: 1907
Foundation Pier
Construction Outer: Cast iron; Inner: Steel
Tower shape Outer: Cylindrical; Inner: Octagonal
Markings / pattern Outer: Black/white; Inner:Red/black/white
Height Outer: 35 feet (11 m); Inner: 57 feet (17 m)
Focal height
Original lens Outer: Fifth order Fresnel lens; Inner: Fourth order
Range Outer: 12 nautical miles (22 km; 14 mi); Inner: 7 nautical miles (13 km; 8.1 mi)
Characteristic Outer: Fl W 2.5s; Inner: Iso W 2s
ARLHS number Outer: USA-798; Inner: USA-797
USCG number Outer: 7-19515; Inner: 7-19520

The St. Joseph North Pier Inner and Outer Lights are lighthouses in Michigan at the entrance to the St. Joseph River on Lake Michigan. The station was built in 1832 with the current lights built in 1906 and 1907; they were decommissioned in 2005.


St. Joseph was first platted in 1829, and the first lighthouse at the site, located on shore, was built in 1832. Construction began on harbor piers in 1836, and by 1848 a beacon light had been established on the pier. The onshore lighthouse was replaced in 1859, and a new pierhead beacon was constructed on the south pier in 1870. In 1881, this beacon was transferred to the north pier. In 1897 a pole light was erected 400 feet shoreward to serve as a rear range light. In 1904, the pier was extended, and the range lights were moved lakeward. In 1906/07, the present set of range lights was constructed.

The 1859 lighthouse remained in use until 1919, when a tower was erected on the south pier. It was demolished in 1955. In 2008, the north pier inner and outer range lights were deemed excess. Ownership of the lights was transferred to the city of St. Joseph in 2013. A committee was formed in 2014 which raised $2 million in private donations to fully restore the pier range lights. The project to preserve the lighthouses was completed in 2016.

Postage stamp

On June 17, 1995, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp depicting the lights as part of its Great Lakes Lighthouses series.


The front range tower is constructed of steel framing and covered with metal sheets. It is a conical tower that tapers from a diameter of eight feet, three inches at its base to seven feet, three inches at the top. It is topped by a nine-sided lantern room. The tower is equipped with a fifth-order Barbier and Benard lens that produced a fixed red light. The entire structure is 30 feet tall.

The rear tower is a square steel structure, 24 feet on a side, with a pyramidal roof. On top of the roof is an octagonal tower, rising two stories above the main structure. Atop the tower is a circular lantern room with helical bars, surrounded by a black iron parapet and walkway. The tower was originally equipped with a fourth-order lens manufactured by Chance Brothers that produced a fixed red light. This lens was replaced at some point with a Fourth Order Fresnel lens manufactured by Sautter & Cie. A catwalk extends from the second story of the lighthouse along the pier to the shoreline. A smokestack was removed from the tower in 1949 and another was added in 2016.


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